Federal Marijuana Pardons Do Not Apply To Undocumented Immigrants

Mario A. Godoy
Federal Marijuana Pardons Do Not Apply To Undocumented Immigrants

President Joe Biden recently announced pardons for nearly 6,500 Americans convicted on federal marijuana possession charges. This is part of an executive order to decriminalize simple marijuana possession eventually. On October 6, 2022, The White House issued A Proclamation on Granting Pardon for the Offense of Simple Possession of Marijuana. These marijuana pardons do not apply to individuals who are non-citizens and not lawfully present in the United States at the time of their offense. President Biden said,

“As I often said during my campaign for President, no one should be in jail just for using or possessing marijuana. Sending people to prison for possessing marijuana has upended too many lives and incarcerated people for conduct that many states no longer prohibit.” 

The White House said that while no one is currently in prison for “simple possession,” a pardon for those with convictions will allow those with marijuana better access to housing or employment.

“There are thousands of people who have prior Federal convictions for marijuana possession, who may be denied employment, housing, or educational opportunities as a result,” Biden said in his statement. “My action will help relieve the collateral consequences arising from these convictions.”

Marijuana Pardons Only Apply to Green Card Holders and U.S. Citizens

An administration official confirmed that the pardon only applies to green card holders and U.S. citizens. But they also said those not in those groups could apply for a pardon. Immigration advocates argue that pardons should also be granted to undocumented immigrants that were incarcerated or even deported for marijuana charges after spending most of their lives living and working in the United States.

More than 130 immigration advocacy groups plan on sending a letter to Biden. They are requesting that the marijuana possession pardon be amended to include refugees, asylum seekers and visa holders with federal marijuana convictions.

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Illinois Immigration Attorney

Do you have a question about how Illinois’ marijuana laws, expungement and how they affect immigrants and non-citizens? The immigration attorneys at Chicago’s Godoy Law Office fight for immigrants’ rights in Illinois and help immigrants navigate the complex and numerous immigration policies, procedures, and regulations. If you need help with a criminal or immigration issue, please contact our office at 630-912-0322

AREAS WE SERVE: Godoy Law Office serves the entire Chicago, Illinois area, including DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will and Lake Counties

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